NSW Farmers fires up against Woolworths, Coles and ACCC
President of the NSW Farmers Association James Jackson has slammed the ACCC and Australia’s two prominent supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths.
Addressing Australia’s food and supply shortages on Flow, Jackson vented his frustration when asked to comment on corporate mergers and buy-outs in Australia’s retail sector over a long period of time.
According to the peak body Jackson leads, “a few major players” have monopolised the market, meaning that Australia’s food supply has been at the mercy of a small number of leading corporations which have been hampered by the country’s ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks.
“We have far too few processors; we have far too few retailers of fresh food in this country.”
“It is the most concentrated supermarket sector in the world...we’ve got 70 per cent of the retail effort if you like in Australia from two major supermarkets and 90 per cent by the four majors.”
“We’ve seen supply chains that circumvent these players...the local butcher has still got meat on their shelf, the local green grocer has still got fruit and vegetables on their shelf...this brings us to the issue that the ACCC and our politicians have allowed a concentration in these supply chains that’s unhealthy.”
Listen to the full interview with James Jackson on the FlowNews24 podcast:
Jackson proceeded to take a swipe at Australian politicians and the ACCC for negative outcomes that have plagued the country’s retail sector, resulting in an anticompetitive market while Australians grapple with a challenging health crisis.
“We’ve seen gauging prices on horticultural products and we see them essentially closing down the meat supply chain because their supply chains are damaged.”
“The ACCC and our government have a case to answer as to why we’re not seeing food on the shelves at the moment.”
“They’ve been doing it for years...under the eyes of the ACCC, and the ACCC; every time that NSW Farmers puts in a complaint about it they say ‘nothing to see here, nothing to see here’, well guess what, there is something to see here – it’s a mess.”
Meanwhile, The Teys meatworks at Naracoorte has been the site of a major COVID-19 outbreak with 140 people who are believed to have contracted the virus.
Speaking on Flow yesterday, Gabrielle Dykers from the Naracoorte News elaborated on just how significant the outbreak was for the Naracoorte community.
"In order to avoid massive beef losses, SA Health allowed Teys employees to continue working at the Naracoorte facility even if they had tested positive to COVID-19 or were asymptomatic."
"The branch then closed down its operations just over the weekend but not before the Australian Workers Union absolutely slammed them for allowing people to continue to work."
"Woolworths has temporarily suspended all beef supply from that Naracoorte plant."
Mr Jackson said the Woolworths-induced shutdown was another example of excessive market power for the supermarket giants.